By Corey Greaves | February 12, 2011 | The Barbados Advocate
In this photo: Captain of British Airways flight 2155 Justin Van Gemeren (right) and general manager of Sandy Lane Hotel, Robert Logan, bringing the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup down the steps after it arrived in Barbados yesterday.
THE countdown for the prestigious Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup officially began when the coveted Cup arrived at 3:43 p.m. yesterday onboard the British Airways flight 2155 at the Grantley Adams International Airport from London.
One of the premier events on the Barbados sporting calendar, the eagerly anticipated horse racing event is set for March 5.
The British Airways flight was captained by Justin Van Gemeren who, along with Sandy Lane General Manager Rober Logan, ushered the trophy from the plane to the tarmac at 4:10 p.m.
Champions of the Sandy Lane Hotel, Michelle Burrowes and Theresa Barnett, had the honour of carrying the cup into the Grace Adams Suite.
The captain however mentioned that there was some turbulence in the early parts of their flight, but he was happy that the cup was here in one piece as the partnership with the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup continues.
The line-up for this year’s event includes seven overseas horses, from St. Kitts, Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago, USA and Canada, while 12 local horse have been nominated.
“The occasion is made all the more memorable as we recognise 2011 as the 30th year of the Gold Cup event in Barbados as well as the celebration of Sandy Lane’s 50th anniversary since the opening in 1961,” said Robert Logan who added “It will also mark the 10th anniversary of the reopening in 2001 after a full renovation produced the five diamond resort we know and love today.”
This year marks the 15th year that Sandy Lane has been involved in what is widely acknowledged as one of international horse racing’s premiere events.
Logan also mentioned that, “Over the years… Sandy Lane has contributed more than $2 million Barbados Dollars in prize money to the Gold Cup.”
With the roof for the grand stand still off, Pamela Marshall Director of the Barbados Turf Club (BTC) assured those on hand that the roof will be on for Gold Cup day.
She mentioned that after Tropical Storm Tomas, the members of the BTC realised that a structurally sound roof that can withstand natural disasters needed to be in place and that is what they have endeavored to do.
Hon. George Hutson acting Minister of Tourism on the occasion of the arrival of the Sandy Lane Gold Cup mentioned that “30 years on, Barbadians, visitors, the region and the rest of the world are in for no less a thrilling and highly competitive horse-racing event next month, as with the running of the first Gold Cup.